4 min read


Why Do Dogs Smell Their Own Urine



4 min read


Why Do Dogs Smell Their Own Urine




It is early in the afternoon and you decide to take your dog on her daily walk. You know she needs to go to the bathroom, especially since she has been inside most of the day. As you are walking, she immediately goes to the bathroom after sniffing around to find the perfect spot. Once she goes, you decide to continue walking. Yet, your dog does not want to do that. After she goes to the bathroom, your dog decides to sniff the spot she just decided to mark. Sometimes, dogs will smell their own urine and although it is quite peculiar, it is meaningful to the canine nature. 

The Root of the Behavior

Sometimes, our dogs will do things that seem a bit gross, like smelling their own urine. To humans, urine should be left alone and disregarded once it is out of the body. Yet, to dogs, that is not the case. You may have noticed, on a walk, that your dog sniffs their own urine. Dogs are made differently than humans and they explore the world using their nose as well as their mouth. They also have extremely strong senses, and body odors from humans as well as animals deliver information that they can use. When your dog goes to the bathroom, they are releasing toxins from their body, but they are also releasing information. When your dog goes to smell their own urine, they are looking to see what message their urine left on the spot they just marked. 

Dogs will usually sniff the ground before choosing a spot to go to the bathroom because they are reading the messages that were previously left by others and, then, they are choosing an appropriate spot to mark their own territory. Therefore, when they go to the bathroom and then smell it, they are seeing what message they left to mark their own territory on an old spot. Part of this is, also, to make sure that their message and their scent was strong enough to cover up whatever was left there before. It is the canine nature to leave a mark or, perhaps, a signature. This is telling the world and other animals that they were here and this is their spot. Beyond this, your dog may also be checking their urine to check up on their own health. Dogs are very good at taking care of their own health because their past nature was to be in the wild. Checking urine can be a way that your dog deciphers their own wellness. In every action, your dog is making sure everything is in order because that is an essential part of being a canine. 

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Encouraging the Behavior

There are things that our dogs do that seem a bit odd. One of them is smelling urine because it seems gross, messy, and just not appropriate. Yet, we should allow our dogs to smell their urine. It is their canine nature to smell everything in the world to make sure there is safety and familiar territory around. When your dog goes to the bathroom, they are precise about leaving their own spot in the world. They smell for quite a while and choose their spot like they are perfecting their signature for other animals and even people to see. It can almost be seen as some sort of artwork they are trying to perfect. Dogs are, also, using their urine to check their own health. However, make sure your dog does not lick their own urine. If they do, it may be because they discovered a change in their own health and it is suggested to, possibly, consult with your veterinarian. If your dog needs to smell their own urine for a while, it may be so they can better heal their own body and check to make sure something is not off. When your dog has a food change or even takes medication, the smell of their urine will change. It is suggested to not encourage your dog to smell their pee if they do not need to, but allow them to flow, naturally, with their canine nature. 

Other Solutions and Considerations

It is suggested to take your dog to places where they have free range to roam and find an area to go to the bathroom. This can help their own canine nature play out in our society of day-to-day. Yet, you want to also train your dog to know that they are not in the wild and do not need to smell everything. Let your dog sniff and explore, but try and teach your dog that they are in a safe and familiar area. This can make your life easier as well as theirs. Yet, make sure to let them explore because for them, it’s no fun without it. 


Canines are made quite differently than humans are. In fact, they are unique creatures that take every sight, smell, and noise into account when they are trying to determine where they are. As humans, we can learn from their perceptiveness, but we can also teach them that they are safe through all their fun explorations. 

By a Golden Retriever lover Erika Seidel

Published: 03/12/2018, edited: 01/30/2020

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